College entrance exam favors Bi Rain lovers
Updated : 07/10/2012 17:25 GMT + 7
A controversy has broken out over a test question on idolatry used in a national exam the Ministry of Education and Training held this week to enroll students for higher education.
Admiring idols is a cultural beauty but wordshipping them is a disaster. Write a short essay (around 600 words long) about this statement.
The question asked candidates of the national university entrance exam, which concluded Tuesday, to write a 600-word critical essay on the pros and cons of idolatry, which stirred up opposing opinions from both educators and the students themselves.
The question served as an alarming bell for those young Vietnamese who are showing a ‘blind and extreme love’ for K-pop singers, according to Phung Thi Thanh Lai, a Ho Chi Minh City teacher, who associated the question with the worship of the Korean artists by young locals.
It addressed a topical issue and gave some food for thought to many young people in urban areas, who crazily idolize K-pop singers, said Nguyen Kim Anh, a Hanoi teacher.
Many candidates, meanwhile, said they liked the question very much and felt definitely confident of writing a good response.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, a candidate seeking admission to Hoa Sen University based in HCMC, said she found a lot of inspiration from recent media reports on the overreaction of K-pop fans when their idols came to Vietnam.
They even established a fan page on Facebook to protest “the way the education ministry prepared the question.”
Some used swear words to criticize it while others even threatened to kill those who praised the question and panned their Korean idols.
“I cited a variety of evidence in my essay about this hot topic because idolism, exemplified by the extreme admiration for K-pop singers, has been widely reported in local media,” Thao said.
But not all thought it was a good, and fair, question in a country where 70 percent of the population live in the countryside, which makes idolism alien to the majority.
Rural applicants at a loss
Idolization is not quite familiar to candidates from poor and remote areas where newspapers and other media publications are a luxury, a HCMC teacher said.
“They would not find it as interesting and inspirational as students in big cities,” she said.
The question could be a cup of tea for urban students but it is hardly related to rural candidates, according to Hoang Thi Thu Hien, teaching at Le Hong Phong Specialized High School in HCMC.
“Exam administrators should have given two different topics for candidates to choose,” Hien said.
A candidate from the central province of Nghe An complained it was really difficult for her to write a response essay with concrete proof, as idolism was something very strange to her.
“Internet and media are hardly accessible in my hometown,” she said.